Encouraging CSR

| Updated on July 26, 2019

This refers to ‘CSR at gunpoint’ (July 26). In mandating a CSR spend under the Companies Act, we have but followed a widely accepted global trend. What does not gel with this prescriptive approach is the idea of compulsory appropriation of the unspent amount.

There are annual CSR awards for companies, which should provide the requisite inclination and incentive to be part of improving the social milieu. The government must do away with pedantic clauses and riders. Contributing to the PM’s relief funds is the most unimaginative route to CSR. Originality counts most in such endeavours.

R Narayanan


Educating investors

With reference to ‘Robbing Peter to educate Paul’ (July 26), it may be noted that the RBI had established a fund called the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF) in 2014. It is credited with funds lying in any bank account in India which has not been operated for a period of 10 years. The fund is used for the promotion of depositors’ interests, as specified by the RBI from time to time.

As on June 30, 2018, the fund had a huge amount of ₹19,567 crore. The article refers to the need to educate the young people with basics of personal finance, financial planning, banking and insurance. All of these subjects should form part of the school curriculum from secondary level upwards.

Besides the financial market regulators, there is a need to involve the State governments as well, if ‘Paul’ is to be financially educated in the true sense of the term.

Navin Bhatia


Agriculture reforms

This refers to ‘Opportunity to reform agriculture missed’ (July 26). As most farmers, especially the small, marginal and landless ones, are still under stress, the Central and State governments have to give priority to the development of rural infrastructure. The rising cost of inputs and lack of adequate availability of perennial irrigation facilities are impacting the productivity, especially that of paddy and sugarcane.

As water is turning out to be a scarce commodity, farmers need to look at drip irrigation as well as gradually shift from cultivating high water-consuming crops like paddy and sugarcane.

Instead of advocating loan waivers, the government must make available farm credit at the doorstep of the farmers at a reasonable cost. The poor farmers must be freed from the clutches of middlemen and village moneylenders so that they refrain from selling their produce at a throwaway price to meet payment obligations. Non-farm economic activities are a source of supplementary income to the marginalised farmers and, therefore, essential infrastructure facilities to support those activities simultaneously with agriculture need to be in place. Establishing agro-based industries in rural areas will address the problems related to seasonal unemployment and will pave the way for ensuring income throughout the year.

VSK Pillai


A routine reshuffle

With reference to ‘Out of FinMin, Garg seeks VRS' (July 26), it was strange to learn that within hours of getting his transfer order to the Power Ministry from Finance, Subhash Chandra Garg applied for voluntary retirement w.e.f. October 31, 2019, whereas his normal date of retirement happens to be a year later. Significantly, Garg was not the only bureaucrat to be given a new assignment, being replaced by Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. The government had on Monday effected a major bureaucratic reshuffle, the first one since the formation of Modi 2.0 government by assigning new postings to 12 Secretaries and also upgrading 12 officers to the rank of Special Secretary. A routine matter, for sure.

However, as is well known, Garg had some differences with the RBI, first with outgoing Deputy Governor Viral Acharya and then with the Jalan Committee on Economic Capital Framework, the constitution of which was his (Garg's) own brainchild.

Kumar Gupt

New Delhi

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Published on July 26, 2019

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